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Health Center Today, August 26, 2010

Lawrence Gideon Raisz, M.D., 1925 – 2010

By Carolyn Pennington

Photo of Dr. Lawrence Gideon Raisz

Dr. Lawrence Raisz

Dr. Lawrence Gideon Raisz, 84, a long-serving leader in the Health Center community and a national and international expert in the field of bone health, died of stomach cancer on August 25 at his home in Farmington.

Raisz was one of the preeminent experts on the management of osteoporosis and metabolic diseases in the world. He was the founder of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, its second president and the founding editor of its journal, the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. In addition, he was the scientific editor of the landmark Surgeon's General Report on Bone and Mineral Research.

As chair of the National Osteoporosis Foundation Education Committee from 1986 to 1999, he and his committee members worked hard to increase the awareness of osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases among physicians and the lay public. Subsequently, he was appointed as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board and a member of Board of Trustees of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

At the Health Center, Raisz was the first program director of the Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., General Clinical Research Center as well as the first director of the Musculoskeletal Institute. He served as the director of the UConn Center for Ostepororsis since its inception in 1990.

“It is almost impossible to articulate all of Dr. Raisz's many contributions to the Health Center,” says Dr. Cato Laurencin, vice president for health affairs and medical school dean.  “His academic and research accomplishments spanned the globe and here in Farmington, he was an endless source of inspiration to many. He will be deeply missed.”

Photo of Dr. Lawrence Raisz and his wife Helen at the White Coat Gala, April 2010.

Dr. Lawrence Raisz and his wife Helen at the White Coat Gala, April 2010.

Photo by Michael Fiedler

Raisz was born on November 13, 1925, in New York City, and grew up in Cambridge, Mass. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and did postgraduate training at the Boston City and Boston VA Hospitals. He held faculty positions at New York University, Boston University, the State University of New York at Syracuse and the University of Rochester prior to his arrival at the Health Center.

He received numerous awards over the course of his career including the UConn Board of Directors Faculty Recognition Award in 2003 and the UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Award in 2004. Earlier this year, the Health Center honored Dr. Raisz, and his career, during the inaugural White Coat Gala.

He served on the editorial boards of 11 journals and was the author of over 450 publications largely in the field of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease and co-editor of the major text, Principles of Clinical Research.

“In our lifetime we were lucky to have known him – he was a person who really lived life, he was a humanitarian, a researcher, and exuded kindness,” says Anne Horbatuck, administrator and chief operating officer of the New England Musculoskeletal Institute. “He communicated to all, was brilliant, giving, and down to earth. It was a privilege and honor to have known this wonderful man,” she added, on behalf of the entire MSI staff.